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How to send money to Kenya

Send money to Kenya using an international money transfer service and you could beat the bank's rates.

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Kenya boasts the largest GDP in East and Central Africa, so sending money to Nairobi or Mombasa doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Whether making a bank transfer or online transaction, you’ll want to compare the transfer fees and exchange rates of the many options available to you to get the best deal.

Send money to Kenya with WorldRemit

Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

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Compare money transfer services to Kenya

Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to Kenya with our money transfer partners.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1 Same day USD 0.00 106.11 KES 530,550 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 106.142 KES 530,286 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 105.524 KES 527,619 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 20.00 106.589 KES
530,816
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 103.925 KES 517,546 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. Show details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 104.458 KES 522,081 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Banks vs. money transfer companies

Your major US banks may offer the option to send funds to Kenya. But banks typically charge high transfer fees and offer exchange rates that are significantly lower than the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer providers use when trading among themselves.

A reputable money transfer specialist can offer better exchange rates and also charge lower fees, saving you money and putting more Kenyan shillings into your recipient’s pocket. Some providers offer electronic transfers to bank accounts only, while others also provide cash pickups, mobile wallet payments and cash delivery services.

Foreign exchange rates explained

The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. Most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means they can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Currency exchange rate for Kenya

Case study: John sends money to Kenya

John moved to the United States to work for a few years and save as much money as possible for his family. He wants to send $5,000 to his relatives, but he doesn’t want to lose too much money to high fees or weak exchange rates. He compares the services of two money transfer companies to see if he can find a good deal.

Money Transfer Company A
Money Transfer Company B
Exchange rate1 USD = 100.43 KES1 USD = 100.64
Transfer fee$5$16
Transfer speed1 business day10 minutes
Transfer optionBank account transferBank account transfer
Total KES received
502,150 KES503,200 KES

As you can see, John will pay an extra $11 in fees with Money Transfer B, but he’ll get his transfer to Kenya within minutes — and send an extra 1,050 Kenyan shillings to his parents.

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How to compare transfer companies when sending money to Kenya

  • Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
  • Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
  • Transfer methods. Common methods for placing transfers include online, through a mobile app, over the phone or at an agent location.
  • “Hedging” options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
  • Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you’ve more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
  • Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
  • Customer service. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.

How to send money to Kenya from the US

  • Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to wire money to banks in Kenya.
  • Money transfer providers. It’s simple and convenient to send an online money transfer to Kenya from the comfort of your home.
  • Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations across Kenya.
  • M-Pesa. M-Pesa is a safe, secure way to send, receive and store money through your mobile phone or an app. Top up your account at one of more than 287,000 agent locations and then send money to loved ones, who can visit an agent to withdraw their funds.
  • Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.

Steps to send money to Kenya

  1. Register for an account with a provider, supplying your name, address, contact details, proof of ID and information about your selected payment method.
  2. Supply your recipient’s name, contact information and bank account details as required.
  3. Enter the amount of your transfer and complete the transaction.
  4. Keep track of any receipt you receive so you can monitor the progress of your transfer.

Emergency cash transfers in Kenya

You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to Kenya — for example, if a friend traveling through the country loses their wallet. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.

Tips for picking up cash in Kenya

Whether picking up funds in Kenya or anywhere else around the world, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.

  • Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
  • Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
  • Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
  • Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.

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Read more on this topic

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AlexAugust 29, 2018

    Hello how can one send $450 from usa cheaply to kenya…..

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloAugust 29, 2018

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You can see a personalized comparison of providers who can send money to Kenya if you fill out the form above next to “I want to send”. Enter S450 choose USD on the first dropdown and KES on the next. Finally click on Calculate and it will show a comparison specific to your requirements. Once you have chosen which provider to go to, simply click on “Go to site” to be redirected to their page.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    CharlesAugust 7, 2018

    I have a US$ account in a Kenyan bank and would like to send US$2,000 direct into my account. Most money transfer service providers insist on converting my US$ to be received in KES in Kenya. Are there service providers who can transfer dollars to a dollar account in Kenya?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaAugust 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Charles,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Generally, your USD would automatically be converted into the local currency. However, if you want to keep it in USD, then the common way to do it is simply do a bank to bank money transfer. However, this is only possible if your recipient has a USD bank account.

      Another way to do it is find a platform that allows you to send and receive the same currencies. This may include PayPal and Payoneer. These two platforms allow you to send USD money and your recipient will receive it in USD money. However, if your recipient needs to transfer it to their bank account, it will still be converted to local currency unless the bank account is in USD.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    JohnFebruary 26, 2017

    Can money come with a plane, carrier

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyJune 27, 2017Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are referring to how to receive the money sent to you, there are different options available depending on the money transfer company. Generally, recipients can receive money by cash pick up or through a bank account.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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